, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – Governors have protested the Central Government’s decision to disburse billions of shillings to the grassroots through funds that are controlled by Members of the National Assembly.
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana said on Thursday that County Governments were overly burdened with the wage bill for staff they inherited from the defunct local authorities, meaning their financial allocations were insufficient to initiate development projects.
Yet, Kibwana complained, various development kitties like the Constituency Development Fund, the Equalisation Fund and the Sh6 billion Uwezo Fund were being disbursed through MPs.
“We have tried to be managers in our counties; we have tried the best we know how to get development going in places where there were none, but it has also dawned on us that most of the money we are getting is only being used to pay salaries.
“Six months since we came into office, we have never gotten a single cent to do development and most of the money we are getting is used to cater for wages,” he said.
The Governor said the Central Government should channel all development funds through Counties as they are better staffed.
“Most of the development money now is going to MPs without them having the kind of qualified people we have. CDF, Equalisation funds, Uwezo funds are all going to MPs. We are given the money to pay salaries and MPs are given development funds,” he said.
He expressed concern that citizens would soon question the development agenda of county governments, and expose devolution to lack of faith by Kenyans.
Kibwana has also criticised a Bill tabled in the Senate that seeks to create a County Development Board that grants Senators a say on how resources are used within the counties.
He described the amendment to the County Government Act as retrogressive since it confuses the functions of Senators with those of Governors.
Kibwana said that the proposed amendment by Nandi Senator Stephen Sang is in bad taste and will create bottlenecks within the devolution process.
“As Governors, we are very sad that there is a genre of laws which are unconstitutional – the CDF laws, laws about road levies, laws about Uwezo funds. There are only two governments, the National and County Governments and in our new dispensation, you cannot give funds to another entity,” he said.